Posted on December 27, 2018
Maintaining a healthy diet and fitness routine is difficult for anyone, but truck drivers have a few additional challenges. However, overlooking poor food choices will catch up quickly in pounds, health problems, and even issues at work.
Eating healthy while on the road is a challenge every trucker needs to overcome. Adhering to the following tips can help simplify this issue:
- Eat less food at more frequent intervals. Eating big, heavy meals may feel satisfying for the moment, but it can cause problems for drivers later. Large meals weigh drivers down and make them drowsy, increasing safety risk. Eating more meals throughout the day with smaller portions can improve drivers’ metabolisms and help keep them alert.
- Ditch the sugary drinks. Many people think their food choices are causing their weight gain, but beverages can pack on the pounds as well. Sugary sodas, sweet tea, energy drinks, and even coffee can all rack up calories throughout the day. Truck drivers should try to make water their primary hydration source. If the lack of taste is an issue, drivers can try squeezing in a bit of lemon to add some flavor.
- Bring healthy snacks on the road. Packing ahead of time can help truck drivers avoid making poor food choices due to hunger. If drivers keep hummus, peanut butter, and a mix of fruits and vegetables with them, they can satisfy hunger cravings with healthy options instead of greasy, fried ones. Keeping a stock of nonperishable snacks such as granola bars, nuts, and trail mix can help as well.
- Plan routes with food in mind. While drivers have set routes, they can plan where they intend to stop to eat. If drivers wait until the last minute to look for food options, they may find themselves surrounded by fast food and not much else. However, if they take the time to identify delis or grocery stores on their route, they can find a healthy meal option.
Finding a routine that works best for maintaining a healthy lifestyle may involve a bit of trial and error for truck drivers. However, even if fast food is their only option, some restaurant chains offer healthy menu items. Check out our list of healthy fast food choices to learn more about staying safe and healthy while on the road. Contact Interstate Motor Carriers to learn more.
Posted on December 20, 2016
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is cracking down on drivers by holding them accountable to audit requirements instigated in 2013 under “Operation Quick Strike.” The initial phase of Operation Quick Strike targeted bus and motorcoach companies and was successful at shutting down companies it found to be out of compliance. Today’s model is a performance-based program that is being rolled out to trucking companies, including fleets, and focuses more on current problems rather than following up on prior out-of-compliance ratings.
Here are some of the changes in the way the FMCSA is doing audits.
- Audits include a broader range of fleet personnel, including accounting, sales, and drivers as well as checking social media.
- Ranking in the unsafe driving, hours of service compliance or crash indicator basic must be 90 or higher, a change from a rating of 85.
- The FMCSA has added a “Part C” to the audit, reserved for the auditor’s notes, the method of operation of the audit and other details of the audit not listed in Parts A or B. Parts A and B are routinely released to the driver, but drivers need to request Part C, citing the Freedom of Information Act.
- Unsafe Driving criteria are being added to the audit for the first time. This includes speeding ticket information, following too close, or other minor driving violations will be used in the new rating system.
- E-logs will also be included in the audit. An explosion of information and data. E-logs will be used to request other documents that support the audit.
- While not currently included in the audit, the FMCSA is considering including a “Safety Fitness Determination” criteria in the future.
If a driver is deemed “high-risk”, they will be rated “Conditional.” Under the new criteria, the FMCSA has increased the investigation, intervention and “out-of-service” orders. And, since shippers and brokers have access to a driver’s rating, a Conditional designation could have a major financial impact on a trucking company. For more on transportation news and risk management, contact us.
Posted on December 13, 2016
You are finally off the traffic-congested roadway and safely parked at a truck stop. But you may not be as safe as you think. A large percentage of truck-trailer accidents occur at truck stops which should be the safest place to park. Drivers can never let their guard down when behind the wheel. Trucking accidents are expensive to both the employer and to the driver. Below are a few tips to help reduce a trucking accident/incident at a truck stop:
- Pre-plan your route so you know you will be stopping at a location with plenty of room and that is well lit. Choose your stops, don’t let them choose you.
- Never underestimate the usefulness of a rest area. Not only do rest areas offer easy access, but they are setup to allow trucks to pull through a parking spot versus the higher risk of backing into a spot. Statistics indicate that more accidents happen in truck stops than rest areas.
- Avoid parking on the end of a row. Not only is there traffic crossing next to you but most people park on the end because they are tired and after a long day the end is the closest spot. Avoiding the end of a parking lot helps you avoid drivers who are parking when they are tired. Removing yourself from high traffic areas can only help.
- Avoid a spot that will force you to back out when you leave. Choose a spot you can either pull through (the best option) or back into (second best option).
- Avoiding parking in a location where the trucks across from you will be required to back out of their spots. Being behind a vehicle that will be blindly backing toward you is a recipe for disaster.
- If the truck next to you looks close, is over the line, or parked odd (for example the cab is angled to the trailer for some reason) then move on to a new spot. If you have to take that spot don’t be afraid to write down the name and DOT number on the truck. You may be glad you did when you wake up in the morning.
- Park with your tractor and trailer straight. It reduces the area others have to hit while backing.
- Use your four-ways when pulling through the lot and backing up. People in truck stops, or even other parking lots, are usually tired or distracted. Four-ways activate peripheral vision and increase the chance of someone seeing you. And if required use your horn gently when needed to tell someone “Hey, I’m here”.
Posted on January 15, 2016
The results of a recent assessment – the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) ninth annual Operation Safe Driver Week – concluded that passenger car drivers are approximately three times as likely to speed as commercial drivers. These results stem from a statistical sample size of over 21,000 drivers were pulled over during the week in late 2015 by more than 2,500 law enforcement officials at hundreds of locations across the United States and Canada.
The most common violations for commercial drivers included:
- Size and weight
- Failure to wear a seatbelt
- Failure to obey a traffic control device
- Using a handheld phone
The CVSA has worked in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for nearly a decade to promote awareness and adherence to safety protocols for commercial drivers. An increase in citations seemingly indicates an increased commitment on the part of law enforcement officials to promote safety, while the significantly lower rate of infractions among commercial drivers versus passenger drivers indicates a level of professionalism and dedication among commercial vehicle operators. To learn more about the CVSA, the FMCSA, and trucking safety and coverages, contact us.
Posted on January 04, 2016
As of the first of this month, motor carriers will only have to test half of the previous portion of employees for use of illegal substances. The FMCSA reduced the threshold from 50% to 25% in an effort to reduce financial burden on the transportation industry while maintaining the same level of safety standards. Studies have indicated that a 25% random drug screening rate is sufficiently high to discourage use of illegal substances, making any testing beyond this threshold likely superfluous.
This comes as a result of three consecutive years with an industry-wide positive rate of less than one percent, indicating a high degree of compliance among transportation professionals. Though subject to further change, it is expected that these levels of random testing will continue for the foreseeable future. To learn more about these and other transportation issues, contact us.
Posted on October 21, 2015
Could a national “SmartPark” initiative for the trucking industry become a reality soon?
Pilot programs that give truckers real-time information about parking availability are well underway in Tennessee and Michigan. The goals of the projects are to reduce driver fatigue, better adhere to hours of service requirements, and improve drivers’ work conditions. Commercial truck drivers typically spend 30 minutes or more searching for a place to park their rigs.
Expansion of these “SmartPark” projects into a ubiquitous, multi-state, corridor-focused network is a dream of many in the industry. They hope Congress will make the necessary funding available when it confronts reauthorization of the current surface transportation law, which expires October 29.
The National Transportation Safety Board recommended 15 years ago that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) take steps to provide truckers with real-time information on the location and availability of parking spaces. But it was just two years ago that federal officials felt they had found a workable technology a system that identifies vacant spaces through a combination of Doppler radar and laser scanning and disseminates that information via dynamic electronic message signs, smartphone apps, websites and in-cab messaging.
The FMCSA has been testing the system on northbound Interstate 75 in eastern Tennessee. The Federal Highway Administration is funding a similar system along a 129-mile stretch of southwest Michigan’s I-94 corridor that’s used by 10,000 trucks daily but offers only 158 spaces in its five public rest areas. The corridor’s commercial truck traffic accounts for 23 to 30 percent of all its traffic and represents some of the highest commercial volumes in the Midwest.
The projects are working well, making it easier for drivers to avoid going over hours and saving carriers money because drivers can spend more time driving and less time searching for parking. Truck Smart Parking Services, one of the partners working with FMCSA, estimates that national deployment of the system could save industry $4.4 billion annually. Each driver could save two gallons of diesel and reduce greenhouse emissions by nearly 45 pounds per parking search, more than 3.3 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Interstate Motor Carriers has consistently provided creative solutions and specialized insurance programs to the trucking industry since 1936. Contact us for a fresh look at your insurance options.
Posted on September 02, 2015
September 2, 2015 – Freehold, NJ
Rough Notes, the nation’s leading source of insurance innovations and trends for over 135 years, recently published two articles about the trucking experts at IMCCA. To read the articles, click on the thumbnails to the right.
The first article, published in the May 2015 edition of Rough Notes, is titled Expertise Key to Trucking and Specialty Trucking Success. The article explores the challenges that transportation businesses face in identifying, acquiring, and implementing new safety technologies. As a trucking specialist for many years, Gary Weindorf, President/CEO of IMCCA, points out those safety devices can increase motor carrier costs, but can lead to significant dividends in terms of reducing accident frequency, severity and ultimate liability, which can translate into lower insurance premiums. While safety regulations are set forth by the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) Program, he points out that the organizations which succeed are those that take a proactive approach to vehicle safety and driver security. A dedicated trucking insurance broker can be an asset in knowing the trucking insurance market and handling unique issues with claims and loss control.
The second article, published in the August 2015 edition of Rough Notes, made the front cover of the magazine. An agency profile – Better to Be Lucky… and Good explores the unconventional path that has brought together the pieces that today comprise the highly successful IMCCA. Interstate started as a Trucking Agency in 1936 and merged with Capacity Coverage Corp in 2011. Capacity’s original partners, Robert Lull and Mark Weinraub, started the company in 1990 with a goal to create a motor carrier agency that emphasized professionalism and subject matter expertise. Interstate’s trucking expertise was a perfect fit for their vision and maintains their original offices in Freehold, along with a continuation of the same leadership and experienced employees that ensures their clients of market prowess, dedicated service, and the knowledge to assist with shipper/government regulations in this fast-paced industry.
To learn more about IMCCA, visit the Trucking Insurance Experts.
Posted on August 17, 2015
A federal drug advisory board recently issued a recommendation to their director that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) institute nationwide hair-testing protocols for truck driver drug screenings. While some organizations already leverage this technology, federal regulations currently identify urine analysis as the only authoritative testing methodology for drug screening.
These standards date back to the 1991 Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, the first step taken in national testing regulations for transportation professionals. In the quarter-century since, science and technology have moved forward. Hair testing now provides a greater degree of accuracy and significantly longer window of testing history to get a better picture of usage. The results of over 1200 peer-reviewed papers were considered in the process of arriving at the advisory board’s recommendation.
The board has received hundreds of comments in the past few months, overwhelmingly in support of hair tests for drug screening. Expect to hear from HHS and the Department of Transportation in the coming months on these and related drug screening issues.
To learn more about a wide variety of issues affecting the transportation industry, contact us.